Back in time

May 6, 2016

 

Very familiar is the Blackpool Corporation Transport garter and crest on the sides of older preserved trams and buses - in two formats.   Red garter with Blackpool Corporation Tramways lettering meaning pre 1933:  and green with Blackpool Corporation Transport lettering meaning post 1933 up until de-regulation and the formation of arms-length Council owned Blackpool Transport Services Ltd. in 1986.  

 

Previous to this Blackpool Electric Tramways originated the Promenade tram service in 1885 with a modest fleet of trams - of which Number 4 has fortuitously survived and returned to its almost as built appearance.  This included a sand, green and white livery (plus external advertising which was an immediate revenue earner for the fledgling company) and a simple logo comprising the capital letters of the company name.  In 1895 Blackpool's then Council decided to take over the running of the increasingly troublesome line, then extended to Victoria Pier.   At the time

Blackpool had not received its formal Charter as a Corporation even though the town was experiencing enormous growth and about to explode even more with the

construction of the Tower Buildings and other major places of entertainment. 

 

In the vacuum the Council had approved a coat of arms for use on public owned buildings and assets - which also had not received any approval from the requisite authority in London.   Examples of this initial coat of arms with rendition of a bathing van, the north pier (at the time), a lifeboat and a lighthouse - can be found on several cast iron pillars still extant on the promenade north of the Metropole.  

 

The town's newly acquired tramway (there were no publicly owned horse buses) also needed to be similarly attired with the hallmark of their Owner - and accordingly a Blackpool Corporation Tramways crest was created complete with the unofficial coat of arms in the familiar roundel.  This would subsequently would be corrected with the later officially sanctioned corporation coat of arms which we are all familiar with.

Very recently a rare find was put up for sale following a house sale and clearance in St Annes.  From the not inconsiderable items with historical transport relevance was a wooden shield bearing the original Blackpool Corporation Tramways crest of the period immediately following purchase of the conduit line from Blackpool Electric Tramways and up until the later approved coat of arms began to find its way on to the growing tramway fleet from 1899.   This example may be unique and it has been acquired through the donations of Steve Palmer and the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust.   Heavily varnished the artifact will need attention of professional restorers to bring it the colours and detail sharply into focus.   However it has been saved for retention in conjunction with the Trust's ongoing initiatives.   A small but important link to the late 19th Century tram operation along the seafront.

 

Image :  Copyright   John Woodman and FHLT

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Working to conserve for display, trams and artefacts of the longstanding coastal tramway serving Blackpool, Thornton Cleveleys and Fleetwood.

 

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